BOOK REVIEW: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson

RELEASE DATE: May 4, 2010
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Children Publishing
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Library
CHALLENGE: 2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew–just in time for Amy’s senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she’s always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy’s mother’s old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she’s surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road–diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards–this is the story of one girl’s journey to find herself.


Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour took me forever to read — and not in one of those “Oh my, this book is so dull, how could I ever finish it?” kind of ways. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I finished this book so in love with it that I wondered how I could have just found out about it this year.

This is the story of Amy, who’s father recently died in a car accident. Her mom is moving the family down to Connecticut (from California) and has already been living there for a month when she decides that rather than flying Amy and the family car down, she wants Amy to drive it. The problem is that since the car accident, Amy doesn’t drive. So, her mom recruits a friend’s son to drive down with her. The trip starts off fine, but once they see the boring itinerary Amy’s mom made out for them, Amy and Roger decide to take a detour.

To say I adored this book would be an understatement. There’s just something so comforting about a road trip book and I found myself instantly enamoured with it, from the first few pages. I really enjoyed how Morgan Matson, the author, had the story of Amy and Roger’s trip going in a straight line throughout the novel, but at times the story would go back in time, telling the story of Amy and her family, ultimately leading to the story of how her father died.

The writing was absolutely superb. The book was so easy to read, making me feel sad about Amy’s situation, envious of the road trip, and just plain happy at times. There’s humor, romance, and some definite serious issues going on. And, one of my favourite things — MUSIC! I am a huge music person, in case you haven’t been following my blog for a while, and I love finding new music. Sprinkled throughout this novel are amazing playlists, which is why it took me forever to read this book. About three quarters of the way through, I had to go and make just one of Roger’s playlists to see what the music was like. Of course, after absolutely loving the first playlist, I had to make more! After completing six of them, I went back to reading, but I definitely have to say that the music fits so well with the book and I appreciate it even more knowing the time that Matson must have spent compiling such great tunes.

Writing and playlists aside, I also loved how the book was set up as part-novel, part-scrapbook. There are pictures, receipts, and tidbits on the states that Roger and Amy visit. While I wished that the pictures were in colour, this was such a great addition to the novel.

I do have to say something about the characters, as well, because I feel that Matson truly wrote some amazing ones. I loved Amy and immediately felt that there was something about her of which I needed to know more. I loved the first moment when her and Roger meet, and their growth as characters throughout the novel. It was also nice to see that Amy’s family was just so real, despite my original gripes about her mom setting up such a road trip — 4 days in a car with a boy? Two young kids traveling across country together? Amy’s mom must have really trusted Roger to do that!

All in all, this was a fabulous novel that you should read. It’s for those who travel and for those who wish to travel, wishing they could just get in the car and drive with no particular destination in sight. Aren’t we all envious of those people?

Morgan Matson is a fantastic writer and I can’t wait to read more from her!


Read More Reviews of This Book

April’s review –> Good Books & Good Wine
Erica’s review –> The Book Cellar
Alison’s review –> Alison Can Read

© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.


4 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson

  1. This is one of those books where I really feel like I’m the only person in the world who hasn’t yet read it!! I spent 5 years driving a truck (I was 21, and my husband and I decided we needed some adventure, so we quit our jobs and went!) so I love road trips 😉 This sounds like the perfect read for me.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

    • That’s pretty awesome! I don’t think I’ve ever been on a real road trip before, but when I do eventually go on one, music is a MUST!

      Thanks for the comment!

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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